After the first of what would be three visits to Nikko, we thought it would be a good idea to go for coffee. Of course our hosts had a better idea in mind. We went to drink ocha (green tea) of exceptionally good quality in the Hoshino home. Tea like this cannot be purchased in Canada.
Hoshino-san was away on a fact finding mission (frequent) to Kyoto to learn about and develop new ideas for the Japanese garden surrounding his home. So his wife was left to entertain us. It is a beautiful garden outside with fish in the pond which I incorrectly assumed were dark coloured koi or Japanese carp. The house itself is in the process of being renovated particularly on the inside and as much as possible is being done by the owners. Like many homes especially in this prefecture, there is a kura or storage building in the yard. The Hoshino kura is made of stone and is designed to protect the contents against all harm.
After tea and viewing the house, Fukuda-san took us out behind the house where as a boy he had been chased by a Japanese bear. The question in the back of my mind is why would bears come here? There is a large spring apparently gushing from the rock up on the mountain and this water flows through the length of the property and into the fish pond seen at the front of the house. But behind the house in a series of large terraced ponds are thousands of mostly trout of different sizes, some koi and another Japanese freshwater fish. The fish are raised here and sold to restaurants. In fact some of the trout are raised is such a clean environment that they can be eaten as sashimi (raw fish).
The photographs can be seen on Picasa at Hoshino Home.